My sister went to Wharton and she became a banker, and when I began my first year there that's what I thought I was going to be too. Albeit, my sister has since come to her senses and now is out of that game (congrats Linda!).
I thought going into banking would be a pretty safe track for me. I knew I wanted to start a company one day, but I wasn't sure I would be able to if I didn't have any money. At that time, I also had no idea how angel investing or VC money worked so I really thought that putting up my own capital was the only way. My plan was to get into banking, like all the other Whartonintes, get a sizable nest egg, then go and start a kickass company. Boy was I delusional.
But today, I potentially would have been that same delusional future MBA-er if it wasn't for this Paul Graham article - "How to Make Wealth". (BTW since that title is in quotes, does the period go after or before it?).
Well it was really a series of events and the first domino was Ajay getting me to read this essay. Ajay had always been a little more in tune with the tech scene than I was. He constantly tried to get me to read TechCrunch, told me about things like Y Combinator, and sent links my way. It wasn't until one bored hour during Thanksgiving Break of 2010 did I finally give in.
I read that PG article and, wow, it blew my mind. It was then that I started to think about the possibilities of starting a startup, and how inherently good that would be for the world and for myself. The article is a fairly long read and PG covers a lot from how wealth is not conserved but can be created, how good startups are just 40 years of hard work concentrated into 5, how providing something that people want is wealth, etc etc.
This really began to shape my philosophy on how the world should work.
After reading that essay, I began reading more essays. After break, I went back to school and heard about several Wharton startups making some big exits and creating a lot of wealth (Milo, InviteMedia, Quidsi). I was bombarded with the perfect storm of startup tech news and success.
And that's when I forced myself to learn how to code and build web apps. During Winter Break, Ajay and I taught ourselves web dev and we built our first couple of apps. Before we knew it, we we got a viral success on CNN/Mashable. And before we knew it, again, we were getting interviewed by the man himself, PG. It's been a roller coaster ride, and it all began with a new found perspective on wealth.
I highly recommend you read that essay. One of my favorites.